Matthew 2* The wise men's search after Christ. (1-8) The wise men worshipJesus. (9-12) Jesus carried into Egypt. (13-15) Herod causes theinfants of Bethlehem to be massacred. (16-18) Death of Herod,Jesus brought to Nazareth. (19-23)1-8 Those who live at the greatest distance from the means ofgrace often use most diligence, and learn to know the most ofChrist and his salvation. But no curious arts, or mere humanlearning, can direct men unto him. We must learn of Christ byattending to the word of God, as a light that shineth in a darkplace, and by seeking the teaching of the Holy Spirit. And thosein whose hearts the day-star is risen, to give them any thing ofthe knowledge of Christ, make it their business to worship him.Though Herod was very old, and never had shown affection for hisfamily, and was not himself likely to live till a new-borninfant had grown up to manhood, he began to be troubled with thedread of a rival. He understood not the spiritual nature of theMessiah's kingdom. Let us beware of a dead faith. A man may bepersuaded of many truths, and yet may hate them, because theyinterfere with his ambition, or sinful indulgences. Such abelief will make him uneasy, and the more resolved to oppose thetruth and the cause of God; and he may be foolish enough to hopefor success therein. 9-12 What joy these wise men felt upon this sight of the star,none know so well as those who, after a long and melancholynight of temptation and desertion, under the power of a spiritof bondage, at length receive the Spirit of adoption, witnessingwith their spirits that they are the children of God. We maywell think what a disappointment it was to them, when they founda cottage was his palace, and his own poor mother the onlyattendant he had. However, these wise men did not thinkthemselves baffled; but having found the King they sought, theypresented their gifts to him. The humble inquirer after Christwill not be stumbled at finding him and his disciples in obscurecottages, after having in vain sought them in palaces andpopulous cities. Is a soul busy, seeking after Christ? Would itworship him, and does it say, Alas! I am a foolish and poorcreature, and have nothing to offer? Nothing! Hast thou not aheart, though unworthy of him, dark, hard, and foul? Give it tohim as it is, and be willing that he use and dispose of it as itpleases him; he will take it, and will make it better, and thoushalt never repent having given it to him. He shall frame it tohis own likeness, and will give thee himself, and be thine forever. The gifts the wise men presented were gold, frankincense,and myrrh. Providence sent these as a seasonable relief toJoseph and Mary in their present poor condition. Thus ourheavenly Father, who knows what his children need, uses some asstewards to supply the wants of others, and can provide forthem, even from the ends of the earth. 13-15 Egypt had been a house of bondage to Israel, andparticularly cruel to the infants of Israel; yet it is to be aplace of refuge to the holy Child Jesus. God, when he pleases,can make the worst of places serve the best of purposes. Thiswas a trial of the faith of Joseph and Mary. But their faith,being tried, was found firm. If we and our infants are at anytime in trouble, let us remember the straits in which Christ waswhen an infant. #16-18| Herod killed all the male children, notonly in Bethlehem, but in all the villages of that city.Unbridled wrath, armed with an unlawful power, often carries mento absurd cruelties. It was no unrighteous thing with God topermit this; every life is forfeited to his justice as soon asit begins. The diseases and deaths of little children are proofsof original sin. But the murder of these infants was theirmartyrdom. How early did persecution against Christ and hiskingdom begin! Herod now thought that he had baffled the OldTestament prophecies, and the efforts of the wise men in findingChrist; but whatever crafty, cruel devices are in men's hearts,the counsel of the Lord shall stand. 19-23 Egypt may serve to sojourn in, or take shelter in, forawhile, but not to abide in. Christ was sent to the lost sheepof the house of Israel, to them he must return. Did we but lookupon the world as our Egypt, the place of our bondage andbanishment, and heaven only as our Canaan, our home, our rest,we should as readily arise and depart thither, when we arecalled for, as Joseph did out of Egypt. The family must settlein Galilee. Nazareth was a place held in bad esteem, and Christwas crucified with this accusation, Jesus the Nazarene. WhereverProvidence allots the bounds of our habitation, we must expectto share the reproach of Christ; yet we may glory in beingcalled by his name, sure that if we suffer with him, we shallalso be glorified with him.
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